The list of area high school football teams still playing is getting slimmer.
We will continue picking games as long as we have a handful of teams alive.
KHQ/SWX sports director Sam Adams and yours truly both went 5-1 last week. That means Adams didn’t pick up any ground.
I’m within three-hundredths of a point of picking games at a .700 rate. That’s a handsome batting average, period.
In Idaho, Coeur d’Alene is playing in the State 5A championship game for a fourth straight year, and the Vikings are within reach of a third state title in that span.
In Washington, I see at least four area teams advancing to the semifinals.
Last week: Adams 5-1 (44-22 overall), Lee 5-1 (46-20)
Coeur d’Alene vs. Highland (Pocatello)
(Friday, Kibbie Dome, 7)
Lee: CdA 27-24. This should be as entertaining as it gets. Two ultra-talented teams with the capability of playing lock-down defense. The Vikings have much motivation. They want to win for their coach, their injured leader (Gunnar Amos) and gain a measure of revenge from their earlier loss at Highland. More than anything, they want another title trophy. They’ll get it.
Adams: CdA 24-17. A lot has changed since CdA’s early loss to Highland. The Viks were 1-3 at the time and were building a reputation for not closing teams out. Since then? ABC (Always Be Closing). Yes, Gunnar Amos is on crutches. Yes, Highland is probably the best team in the state. But CdA has a lot of x factors right now, namely at quarterback in sophomore Austin Lee. The Viks won’t storm out to a big lead like they did last time, but their defense is going to come through this time.
Lind-Ritzville/Sprague vs. Colfax
(Friday, Cheney, 7)
Lee: LRS 40-7. The Broncos are at 22 straight wins and counting. This is a mismatch. Colfax is a year away and the Broncos’ postseason experience is too much for the Bulldogs to counter.
Adams: LRS 44-21. This is by far one of the better series in our neck of the woods. Two powerhouse programs going head to head for a trip to the state semifinals. The Broncos have been busting everyone this year, and their red-hot play should continue.
Reardan vs. Adna
(Saturday, Centralia, 1)
Lee: Reardan 21-20. The Indians’ defense must be the difference. And Reardan can’t turn the ball over either. The Indians don’t have to be perfect but they can’t shoot all of their toes off either.
Adams: Adna 34-21. The Indians fought a bout of the turnover bug in their playoff opener. Adna will be far less forgiving than Oroville. Unless Reardan can play a clean game – which is becoming harder and harder to do as the weather changes – I see Adna prevailing.
Touchet vs. Wilbur-Creston
(Saturday, West Valley, 4)
Lee: W-C 49-45. The easy pick would be to go with second-ranked Touchet, which is a slight favorite. I’m going with the romantic pick, the Wildcats. This is a nice story and turn around from a 3-7 season a year ago. W-C coach Darin Reppe, a Touchet grad, will come up with a plan to beat his alma mater. It could be a track meet.
Adams: Touchet 22-20. W-C has failed to score 50 points just once this season. Touchet? Four times. But you know that old adage, defense wins championships? It can hold true, even in eight-man football. Touchet limited Colton to a mind-boggling 14 points back in October. This time of year I’ll take the defensive-minded team.
Freeman vs. Royal
(Saturday, Moses Lake, 1)
Lee: Freeman 27-20. You can’t apply the common opponent comparison here. The Scotties shut out Riverside 34-0 and Royal blanked the Rams 42-0 last week. This is a big hurdle, though, for Freeman. This is rarified air for a NEA team. A win would be a big break through for a league that’s not looked at as tough. Freeman will get that statement victory.
Adams: Freeman 28-24. A look at common opponents will show you both teams shut out Riverside. But a look at Freeman’s schedule will show that the Scotties have been doing this all season. Royal will be by far their toughest game since their opener against Colville, but I’m giving Freeman at least one more week in the playoffs.
Shadle Park vs. Kamiakin
(Saturday, Lampson Stadium, 2)
Lee: Shadle 34-24. If there’s a team capable of blowing out the other it’s Shadle. Kamiakin must play with the mentality of keeping the score close until the fourth quarter. Word is the Braves’ secondary is weak. If that’s true, Shadle QB Brett Rypien will have a field day, perhaps challenging his personal record of 613 yards. Kamiakin must find a way to slow down Shadle’s offense.
Adams: Shadle 35-17. Shadle found a new way to win last week when it leaned on its defense in the second half. The Highlanders also ran the ball fairly effectively. Brett Rypien would prefer we talk about his team’s defense or running backs, but we all know it ultimately comes down to the junior’s right arm. Is a win against Kamiakin an upset? I don’t think so.